Free Ethics Consultation: A GPA member benefit
Tuesday, April 05, 2016
Posted by: Ren Massey, PhD - Ethics Committee Member
We all have those moments that puzzle us as clinicians, supervisors, employers or employees. What else can you do when you are unsure what to do with a professional situation…especially those that make most of us nervous about finding the best course of action regarding ethical, legal, liability, and clinical issues? You can utilize your free access to a benefit available only to GPA members. Contact the GPA Ethics Committee. Unlike APA, we no longer investigate or adjudicate cases. We provide education and consultation to assist psychologists in their work, and you can document the consultation. Here’s how easily the consultation process works.
You realize you’re in a situation that makes you uncomfortable… Maybe your learn that child is scheduled to enter a class that one of your clients is teaching in the next semester… You receive a court order for records on a case from a few years ago… You are unsure if you are supposed to report a case to DFACS or Adult Protective Services.
Step 1: Call Amy Dietrich at the GPA office at 404-634-6272 ext 208 between 9am-4pm Monday-Friday. You go to the GPA website www.gapsychology.org at any time and click on the "For Members" tab, then on the "Consultations" tab to see the link for Ethics Consultations (Direct Link: http://gapsychology.site-ym.com/?page=454) Amy will assign your call a Case Number and contact one Ethics Committee member who is the best fit for your case based on subcommittees and other factors.
Step 2: You will receive a call back from that one Ethics Committee (EC) member who is the ONLY person on the committee who will know your name. You can describe your situation and the EC member will ask for clarification as needed. Sometimes Callers find their questions or concerns completely addressed just in that call. And most feel relief about not having to handle a situation alone. EC members try to call back as quickly as possible, usually within one business day. If your call was marked urgent, the EC member will call you back as soon as possible.
Step 3: The EC member confers with the rest of the EC by giving an anonymous description of the Caller’s concerns. Again, your name is not disclosed to the rest of the committee which then provides other feedback about clinical, ethical, legal, and risk management issues that we may have encountered or learned in our years of practice, supervision, and training.
Step 4: The EC member calls you back with any additional comments or concerns that we can add for your benefit and consideration. You have no further contact with the EC, and you can move on to make a more informed and/or more certain decision. You can also document in your records that you had a formal ethics consultation.
As a member of the EC since 2014, I am impressed with how earnest and concerned EC members are about helping colleagues and the public who are affected by our actions. Cases are discussed respectfully and interesting issues may arise. Sometimes we are in complete agreement, and other times we have differences of opinion, reflecting the challenges we may face in ethical decision-making.
We have all had confounding situations arise. In fact, some of us on the EC have used this GPA benefit ourselves. So, contact us, and let your GPA membership work for you. We’re here to help.